Anti-abortion activist and Texas Right to Life’s former political director Luke Bowen was arrested earlier this month on suspicion of online solicitation of a minor, after a “sting operation” conducted on Aug. 3 by the Montgomery County Internet Crime Against Children division.
Texas Right to Life is the oldest and largest anti-abortion group in the state. In the past year, the group netted massive victories with the proliferation of “sanctuary cities for the unborn,” the repeal of Roe v. Wade, the draconian S.B. 8, and finally, the Texas trigger ban that went into effect on Thursday, banning and criminalizing abortion in the state.
Since Bowen’s arrest, Texas Right to Life has been scrubbing Bowen from its feeds, websites, and as much of the internet as it can reach. For example, where did this story about an after-hours call preventing a woman from accessing abortion go? Here’s the past cached version. Bowen’s LinkedIn shows that he had worked with Texas Right to Life since July 2017.
Jezebel reached out to Bowen’s listed defense attorney, E Tay Bond and Texas Right to Life for comment. Bond has yet to return calls. Texas Right to Life’s media director confirmed Bowen was terminated on Aug. 3, but had no further comment and failed to answer more specific questions about Bowen’s employment.
Montgomery County first assistant district attorney Mike Holley told Jezebel that the office will not comment on ongoing cases. When speaking generally about cyber-crimes involving children, Holley said the investigative period could be as short as a few days to as long as many months.
Bowen pled not guilty on Aug. 16 and is currently free on bond, according to the Montgomery County court system. In the complaint obtained by Jezebel, Bowen is accused of “knowingly solicit[ing] over the Internet, by electronic mail or text message or other electronic message service or system, or through a commercial online service, [a law enforcement personnel], a minor, to meet [Bowen] with the intent that [a law enforcement personnel] would engage in sexual contact or sexual intercourse.”
Bowen was charged with a second-degree felony that could see him sentenced to up to 20 years in prison and charged with a $10,000 fine. “This investigation revolves around a fictitious alleged minor created by law enforcement and posted on the internet,” Bond, Bowen’s attorney, told The Conroe Courier. “There is not a real victim in this case.”
Bowen’s next court appearance is in September.